On Thursday we took a much needed field trip to the World Bird Sanctuary, a bird habitat about thirty minutes from home. The World Bird Sanctuary is an organization that protects and preserves the avian species of the world, while inspiring others to do the same. The COVID-19 pandemic has closed their education center as well as their outreach programs. A few weeks ago they began a free Drive-Thru Safari Experience, where you can see and learn about birds, safely from the comfort of your own car! This educational opportunity made us “flutter” with excitement!
The birds and their handlers were safely distanced around the perimeter of the sanctuary’s outdoor learning space and we slowly drove from bird to bird where we observed, asked questions and learned new things! The most important question on my five year old’s mind was finding out the name of each bird and discovering what each one ate for dinner!
Meet the Birds
The first bird we met was Patriot, the Bald Eagle. We learned her favorite food was fish but that Bald Eagles are known to eat other small birds and decaying prey from other animals as well. Patriot is 35 years old and was part of the opening ceremonies for the St. Louis Cardinal’s baseball division title in 2004.
Then we met Mia, a Spectacled Owl. She was beautiful but was being bothered by bugs that her handler kept swatting away from her face. My daughter already knew that owls come out at night and that they are nocturnal animals. We found our Mia eat mice and rats but enjoys watching the snakes in the nature center.
We see a lot of Red Tailed Hawks visit the pond in our backyard for a quick snack so we immediately recognized Willard. We learned that Willard’s favorite treats are fish, small mammals and rodents.
Oliver is an Eastern Screech Owl and he was much smaller than Mia. We learned that Oliver eats mice, rats and lizards!
Jet is an American Kestrel Falcon and I recognized him from an outreach program the Wild Bird Sanctuary presented at our local library last year. We learned that the black markings around Jet’s eyes protect his eyes from the sun. Athletes who wear dark tape under their eyes got the idea to do so from Jet! Jet eats insects, small rodents and small birds.￼
Lone Elk Park– After our visit with the birds we drove a few feet to Lone Elk Park and enjoyed a little more of nature. My daughter requested a photo with her stuffed Owl, Owliscious, so we pulled over for a photo op in front of the lake.
As we drove through Lone Elk Park we saw bison in the distance, spotted a raccoon and got a close up visit with some of the many elk who call this beautiful park home.
Even though this was a socially distanced field trip, it felt wonderful to get out of the neighborhood, enjoy some new surroundings and marvel at the beauties of nature.